1_mad_squirrel: (Default)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
My dad died on Saturday.

I will fly back to Virginia this weekend.

We will bury him on Monday.
1_mad_squirrel: (Green Tara)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
A Little Buddhist Humor

A friend of mine in the Tibetan Buddhist community here was telling me of a Buddhist friend of hers from years ago who drove a tiny red car with the license plate "HINAYANA". ;-)
dragonfly: flaming chalice of Unitarian Universalism (chalice gold)
[personal profile] dragonfly
With a small group of like-minded seekers at my church, I have begun a study/discipline to see how to incorporate the eightfold path into my life. We all felt we had read and talked enough, now we needed to find practices that worked for each of us. So far my practice has been mainly to read a little Buddhist philosophy before bed as a sort of meditation. We are meeting monthly and trying to work on one step at a time. This will be our second month on step one, though. We felt we needed more time.

We have joked that if we stay on schedule we should all achieve enlightenment by next summer. *g*

Anyway, I wrote this to the group this morning:

I am still amazed at how complex the first step is! "Realistic Perception" seems like an entire discipline in itself. Besides the Noble Truths, it includes things I've been working on more or less my whole life, like remembering to see things from other people's point of view, or reminding myself I am not the center of the universe-- things like that. Little mantras I've kept in my back pocket for years, like "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance (or incompetence)" feed into Right View. The whole discipline of not deluding yourself into thinking things are a certain way, either because you desire them to be that way or because your own lifetime of habits has led you to always wear certain lenses. This is stuff I've always dealt with and never necessarily mastered, and it's just the first step!
1_mad_squirrel: (Shakyamuni Buddha)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
I can't remember if I've talked about this before, but I have started going to a closed-ended therapy group that teaches Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills. DBT teaches mindfulness techniques from Buddhism to help you manage overwhelming emotions and disturbing/unwanted/obsessive thoughts. It was designed to help people with Borderline Personality Disorder, but like Buddhism itself, can help anybody who wants to become more in charge of their thoughts and emotions.

In previous weeks the therapist taught mindfulness, one-mindfulness skills as a way of pulling yourself into the present moment and out of your thoughts/emotions. Last night we began the module on emotional regulation. The therapist asked about how our emotions and expression of emotions were addressed by our families when we were children. I told her that when I was a child, if I expressed anger or sadness, getting mad or crying, my mother would lift one hand and say "Do you really want something to cry about?" We were not supposed to disturb her with our emotions, but she has always felt perfectly entitled to rage at us, or weep or whatever. It was pretty much the same with my Dad, who did not live with us. The therapist said this was very common with people who lived with Borderline, or had Borderline features, or other issues with managing emotion. Basically the message we got, was shut up, and when you're a big person, you can emotionally vomit all over everybody too. My Mom still gets very angry when we're out in public and a child cries or has a "tantrum", but has herself had a screaming fit at a WalMart cashier in the express lane who waited on somebody with way more than 20 items. I've actually pointed out to her "Do you realize that you are asking for more control from a child that you require of yourself?" She didn't get the point, she just said "So?"

It does occur to me that she is only repeating what was modeled to her. This has probably been going on for generations. I know that her mother, my Nana, and Nana's parents were extremely toxic people. It came to me last night in the group that a healthier parent would have said to little freaking-out me "I see you're really angry/upset/sad, and it probably doesn't feel very good. When your emotions get too strong for you, you can try breathing deeply or counting your breathing, or telling yourself how your body feels, or about your surroundings." Basically I realized that there was a better way to handle that situation, and that little me deserved that better way.

The therapist said that one of the things that people find the hardest in the module on emotional regulation is recognizing and creating (healthy) opportunities for positive emotion. It sounds so easy, but as people who grew up as we did, and who live with overwhelming emotion, them have become so frightening to us, that in trying not to feel the pain of them, we dampen all emotion, even positive ones, and often have a hard time recognizing them. Basically, we have a hard time being good to ourselves.

One of the things that has been hardest for me about trying to lose weight this time, these last 15 months has been getting out and moving. Just getting out and walking has been proving beyond my ability to motivate myself. I was thinking that I could present daily walks to me as an opportunity to practice one-mindfulness (describing my actions and my sensations and feelings to myself) and an opportunity for positive emotions, both in the credit I would give myself for getting out there, and in the endorphins generated by the exercise.

Another thing we are supposed to be working on this week, is being mindful and observing what we tell ourselves about our emotions when we have when we have them. I guess the goal is seeing when we're repeating to ourselves the judgement we received as children when we were emotional, noticing and giving ourselves credit when we're not judging and just allowing the emotions to be, but also not judging our judging when we do find we've been doing it. It's complicated.

I've had some exposure to Buddhist meditation before, from the Tibetan perspective. I went to a teaching on Mahamudra, but typically for me, got bummed and frustrated when I felt I wasn't doing it right, and never really followed up with further meditation I thought I wasn't doing it right when thoughts and emotions kept coming up. What I'm learning from DBT is that the point of meditation, whether Buddhist or secular, is not not to have thoughts and emotions intrude, but to observe them, note them, and let them go when they occur.
1_mad_squirrel: (Shakyamuni Buddha)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
I posted this on Facebook earlier today:

I got to sleep really late last night, and woke up before five am, and was awake for about an hour. Mom woke me up, thank goodness, about 10:15, from a horrible nightmare in which I did selfish, awful, thoughtless things that caused a disaster and a great deal of suffering for many people, and then tried to run away from it.

Even awake, I couldn't get out of the mindset of the dream, and just sat there thinking of so many thoughtless selfish things if done, and I just sat in the bathroom and cried. I'm trying, reached out on the phone a couple of places for help, and I'm trying to distract myself, joking around with a firend here on FB. It sucks not to feel safe inside your own head.


I felt emotionally really vulnerable, and volatile, varying from weeping to overwhelming fits of anger. And I felt vulnerable and scared that I could be that overwhelmed.

I went through a cognitive therapy course years ago, and I know some Buddhist philosophy and techniques that can often help, but I think that because I was awakened in the middle of that awful dream, in that horrible mental and emotional state, I put me in a very vulnerable state in which I didn't even know how to reach for those tools.

A friend of mine responded to my Facebook post with this:


‎"hugs" and "aloha!" are all i got right now, dear laurie... *everyone* who has ever lived, and *everyone* who is living now, has done thoughtless and selfish things, but i *promise* you this: it is the sign of a Good person that she regret
s them, and learns from her mistakes. only a truly thoughtless and selfish person does things such things without regret and tears.

when i am beating myself up -- and there is no one better at it, since he knows *everything* -- i try to remember that at least i regret, and will learn, and to try to be gentle with myself because i am only human...

light and love!


Another friend responded:

I watched this great clip on TED: Ideas Worth Sharing.
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/kathryn_schulz_don_t_regret_regret.html

Don't Regret Regret. It's helped me live more regret free and let go of the things I've done.

Many hugs and much love Hun.


The video makes some very good points, but it was a bit off from my situation, I responded to her with this.


Charlotte, I don't think the problem was *that* I had regrets, any decent person would. It's partially that I was so vulnerable emotionally being awakened out of that dream. It's partially because I live with severe chronic atypical depre
ssion and some fun (not) axis II stuff. It's partially to do with stuff that happened to me when I was growing up that makes me terrified of making mistakes, and castigating of myself when I do. All of that rolled together makes me sometimes fall into the trap of thinking, consciously or un, that if I've made mistakes, if I've been thoughtless or cruel on occasion to others, that don't deserve to be treated with kindness, and that I *do* deserve the bad stuff that has happened to me. I tend to look at things from a Buddhist perspective, with the idea of karma, and in my lowest moments, that becomes not a source of hope but a source of self-flagellation and despair


I even get on the circular path of freaking out that that I freaked out, that I failed to address these thoughts and emotions with dharma, and thus by indulging in more disturbing emotions, have created even more negative karma for myself. Oy
1_mad_squirrel: (Shakyamuni Buddha)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
I had a dream before I woke up this morning, in which I was really stressed out and full of negative emotion, like I was on Saturday (bad day, depression and anxiety got the better of me). In the dream, I was walking home from a job from which I had been fired, when two of my former coworkers (in the dream) drove up along side and picked me up. They took me to a Buddhist center, I knew in the dream it was different from the school of Buddhism that I had been exposed to, but I also knew it was definitely what mind and soul needed right then. There was a room where Green Tara was being chanted, and for some reason it was a men-only event. I accidentally broke an item on an altar. I just remember basically prostrating myself in tears of relief.
quietpages: (Default)
[personal profile] quietpages
I'm new and hoping for recommendations of buddhist blogs, particularly those written from a secular perspective. I already read (and recommend):

Jayarava's Raves is written by a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. In addition to being of a rationalist bent, Jayarava studies Pali, so many posts involve close-reading.

David Chapman is an apprentice in the Aro gTér lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He is currently working on "the recent history, fluid present, and possible futures of Buddhism."

Speculative Non-Buddhism is the new project of translator and Buddhist Studies scholar Glenn Wallis. It's thought-provoking, and just plain provoking. The best part is the conversations sparked by each post, so be sure to subscribe to the comments feed, too.

Compassion

Feb. 2nd, 2012 09:45 am
1_mad_squirrel: (Om Mani Padme Hung)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
This blog gives an excellent description of compassion, from a Buddhist point of view. Beautifully defined.

Heartening

Dec. 4th, 2011 01:03 pm
1_mad_squirrel: (Default)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
I don't know if he's Buddhist, but this seems to me like dharma in action.

A Victim Treats His Mugger Right
1_mad_squirrel: (Default)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
Friday Mom and I went to lunch downtown, then I went over to the Tibet gallery and got a copy of the new book by Lopon Barbara Dubois, who I guess would be my root lama. I also got a picture of the Dalai Lama, a picture of Garchen Rinpoche, the founder of the Buddhist institute north of Prescott, and a cd, Songs of Tara, which you would expect, contains songs and mantras to Green Tara and White Tara.

[cut]

Night before last I got a little more than four hours of sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep. After a night of that little sleep, I usually crash and burn physically and emotionally. While I was doing my usual morning computer stuff though, I imported my new Tara cd onto iTunes and listened to it. It's beautiful and very soothing. I had no meltdown at all yesterday. I don't think that was coincidence
1_mad_squirrel: (Green Tara)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
On November 30 there will be a live webcast of His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaching on the Thirty-seven Boddhisattva Practices.
http://dalailama.com/liveweb

BTW

May. 26th, 2010 07:54 am
1_mad_squirrel: (Green Tara)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
It's been up for a few days now, but I just hadn't posted: check out the nifty virtual prayer wheel on my main page.
codyne: blue lotus (blue lotus)
[personal profile] codyne
Today was the Buddha's Birthday celebration at Mountain Spirit Center, or Taegosah, a Korean Buddhist temple in the mountains of Tehachapi, California.

Buddha's Birthday banner at Mountain Spirit Center

More pictures and such )
1_mad_squirrel: (Green Tara)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
I just meditated and sang Green Tara for the Gulf of Mexico and its beings. I feel good.

The Buddha

Apr. 8th, 2010 11:05 am
1_mad_squirrel: (Default)
[personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
For any who are interested, last night PBS played a wonderful new documentary on the life of the Buddha. If you would like to watch it, it is viewable in it's entirety at

http://video.pbs.org/video/1461557530

Altar

Nov. 15th, 2009 02:20 pm
codyne: blue lotus (blue lotus)
[personal profile] codyne
This is my altar. It's on a little table in the front room.

My Buddhist altar

I try to keep fresh flowers on it. The central Buddha is actually an incense burner I've had for probably 40 years. The altar cloth was embroidered by my mom when she was a teenager. Most of the other stuff is newer. :) The pink lotus lantern was a gift from the temple I go to, one of the leftovers from their summer retreat. The postcard in back is of the Amitabha, a souvenir of my trip to see the Dalai Lama in September. Front left is a red charm I picked up at a temple in Japan. The white cloth on the right is from the Hiroshima Peace Museum, it has a flower embroidered on it and says, "Peace Declaration, Hiroshima." I put the leftover Japanese coins from my last trip to Japan in front of the Buddha as an offering. There's also a tiny Buddha pin from Kamakura, a small Hotei figure, another incense burner, and a small vajra. My malas are hanging on the corner posts, and some paper prayer flags hang across the front.

And here's a close-up of the central Buddha figure.

My altar Buddha

When I first started putting my altar together, I thought I'd just use the incense-burner Buddha temporarily until I could get a nice new Buddha statue. But then I decided I liked the old one and didn't want to replace it. It's all sort of funky and thrown-together, but I like it.
nebulosity: (buddhism: laying buddha sign)
[personal profile] nebulosity
I'm taking a break from studying for my classes to post an entry about altars. Do any of you keep Buddhist altars? I have one in my room that I use as a place to sit and meditate. I have a small Buddha statuette, incense, juzu, mala and other things that have symbolic meaning.

Feel free to share pictures. Here's a picture of mine:



If you don't have one, but you have a favorite altar from a nearby temple or place you've visited, feel free to share those pictures as well. I have some pictures of altars I liked very much when I was in Japan. I'll have to pull those out and share them sometime.
codyne: blue lotus (blue lotus)
[personal profile] codyne
I was fortunate to be able to attend a teaching by the Dalai Lama in Long Beach, CA on September 25 and 26. There were three sessions, at 9:30 am and 2 pm on Friday, and Saturday morning at 9:30. I posted about it on my blog if anyone is interested. The three posts are on the front page, just scroll down to the one labeled "Friday morning" to start at the beginning.
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